On vacation until after the New Year. I’ll write if inspired – but seems unlikely – as I have WAY too much work to do while away. (It is a good thing – to be buried in new business opportunities – it is.)
OK, another candidate for the WOMMA hall of shame – and just in time to take (perhaps) top honors for 2007.
According to this story from Techdirt, when you join the “community” at Sears & KMart,
“What happens is that you are asked if you want to “join the community,” and then, without clearly explaining what the software does, Comscore’s tracking software is installed. After that, all of your online activities — including to “secure” sites like banking sites — is sent directly to Comscore, despite Sears’ website insisting that none of the data you share will go to anyone but Sears. “
Yeah right! OK people, let’s keep building the trust. (Hat tip to The Daily Lark.)
Need I say more? First of all, I just like those two words put together. Salt makes everything taste better, and so does bacon. Put them together and you have MAGIC!
I heard the founders of Bacon Salt – on The Story – NPR and it might be one of the most powerful WOM stories I have heard. Blogging, youtube, tattoos, etc. No advertising.
I have been commenting about this issue on various blogs, and have a couple of “community” examples here, here and here – but based on Jeremiah’s post today, and Doc Searles post it is time to write my own.
I am (for this business) an old school kind of guy. I subscribe to The Cluetrain Manifesto – hence the title of this blog.
The COMMUNITY is owned by the participants. I think that brands trying to build their own community (with few exceptions) is sheer folly. (I do not include brand sponsored discussion forums for technical help/support)
I believe that brands cannot have conversations, and for the most part corporations struggle to have conversations. Conversations do not pass through the indignity of legal, policy and PR before coming out of your mouth.
Brands can’t participate in the community, but people working for brands CAN. They just have to be helpful and behave (and talk) like human beings. This requires putting the interests of the community ahead of your own brand/corporate interests – which I think is what makes it so difficult. (Get agreement on this important issue before dipping your toe in.)
All major brands/companies should be listening to their relevant communities – and if they have the stomach for it – trying to participate in a human way.
From Ben Worthen over at the WSJ Biz Tech blog.
I don’t even know where to start with this one. We know that Microsoft has transformed everyone’s work life. But take a look at this Vista Fact Sheet and let me know how excited you are about it.
I think the disconnect is that Microsoft (and almost all other technology companies) have a feature/benefit focus to all communications. This does not connect with consumers.
Connect to my emotions. Make me feel better. Make me feel cool. Make me feel like a hero. Make me feel like an outlaw. Make me feel something. Then I will care
OK, I know this is a bit of blogger parody, but I called to cancel my Sprint cellphone service (yes, traded in the trusty Treo 650 for an iPhone) and the call took 32 minutes. And that was my second call. On my first call, I patiently navigated my way thru their phone tree to the “Cancel My Service“ selection – was transferred (I thought to the Sprint service cancellation department) to another branch of the tree where it rang once and hung up on me. I knew they were there, so I called the number back and instead navigated my way to the “Add New Features to My Plan” selection. Sprint answered quickly and cheerfully when they thought I was going to spend more money. After giving my phone number (2nd time) and personal info to verify identity, I told the rep what I wanted to do. She spent about 5 minutes asking me if I really, really wanted to do that. When it was clear to her that I really, really wanted to cancel my service, she transferred me to the special “Service Cancellation Department”. Now that they knew my motives, things slowed down considerably. After 16 minutes on hold, I was talking to a less cheerful, more serious representative from Service Cancellation. We did the “could you give me your phone number and ID verification” dance again (HAVE YOU PEOPLE EVER HEARD OF A SCREEN POP!) and she proceeded to verify that I did in fact want to cancel my service, and no $49.00 per month was not a low enough price to get me to stay with them. (More than $10.00 per month was too high.) Once she was done with me, she had to transfer me to a “Service Cancellation Specialist”. After only 8 more minutes on hold, I was finally on the line with someone who could help me. After verifying Phone Number & ID once again – and then verifying that I really, really, really did want to cancel the service, and no price or offer would keep me there, she pulled the plug and cancelled my service. I have no particular animosity toward Sprint and the guys & gals in my local Sprint Store (Evanston, Maple Avenue) have been VERY helpful, this was a bit much to go through. And it will sure make me think long and hard about ever signing up with Sprint again – for anything. TO’B
We see this every day in our work at MotiveQuest. Many brands owners don’t exactly know & understand what people are saying about them. Word of Mouth matters. The fact that we can now listen in (online WOM) means we can do something about it.
“NEW YORK, Dec. 10 /PRNewswire/ — The way communicators dispense information is out of sync with the way consumers use media, according to Media, Myths & Realities, a comprehensive survey of media usage among consumers and communications professionals conducted by global public relations firm Ketchum and the University of Southern California Annenberg Strategic Public Relations Center. Advice from family and friends is the No. 1 source that consumers turn to when making a variety of decisions – ranging from purchasing consumer electronics to planning a vacation – and advice from an expert rates highest when making medical decisions and purchases based on a product’s environmental impact. Despite the strong evidence that friends, family and experts play a key role in influencing decisions, only 24 percent of communicators report having a word-of-mouth program in place.”
Interesting pairing of three posts over at the WSJ Business Technology blog.
Post #3: Macs Make Business Inroads
Business software is NO LONGER separate from our life. Mobile technologies and our “always connected” culture means that business software has become part of our personal lives. In the world of software, Apple owns emotional attachment – Microsoft is all about functionality. This is the positioning each company has chosen.
What is changing is our culture – we have 20 years of technology experience under our belts, and we want software we like. So is it any surprise that people (as opposed to IT departments) prefer software with which they have an emotional connection? I don’t think so.
And if this emotional connection is “more important” than it was because of the overlap between what is business and what is personal – then I like Apple’s chances in the enterprise.
By the way, I think Microsoft could also develop an emotional connection with their customers – they have to decide they want to do it.